Curried Red Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Greens
Both nourishing and sublimely satisfying, this thick soup incorporates fall’s first sweet potatoes with seasonal greens. Red lentils, which cook to a warm golden color, are available in natural food stores and ethnic groceries. Adapted from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups raw red lentils, rinsed
- 2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed well (or peeled) and diced
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons good quality curry powder, more or less to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 to 8 ounces chard, any variety, or baby spinach
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, optional
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley, optional
Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden.
Add 6 cups water, followed by the lentils, sweet potatoes, and spices. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently until the lentils are mushy and the potatoes are done, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, if using chard, separate stems from midribs, then slice leaves into narrow shreds. If using a variety of chard that has those nice celery-like stems (green and rainbow chard have those), slice them to use as well. Give the prepped chard a good rinse in a colander. If using baby spinach, no preparation is needed, but give them a good rinse as well.
Once the lentils and sweet potatoes are done, see if you need to add more water to the soup, as it thickens up quite a bit. You want it to remain thick, almost stew-like, but not a solid mass of lentils.
Stir the greens into the soup along with the lemon or lime juice. Continue to simmer gently until the greens are just done and still bright green, 2 minutes for spinach and 5 minutes for chard.
Season with salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes if you’d like a little more heat. Stir in the cilantro or parsley and serve.